Tuesday, 5 August 2008

J.M. van de Wall, De valkerij op het Loo. Haarlem, 1986. P. 64. Shelf mark: 552 B18.

Falconry has its own language, much of which is universal. A young hawk taken from a nest in the wild or bred in captivity is known as an eyas. A hawk trapped during its first year in the wild is called a passager, and a hawk trapped in its adult plumage is termed a haggard. The female peregrine falcon is properly called a falcon, and the male—which, in common with most species of raptors, is smaller than the female—is known as a tiercel. Indoor housing for hawks is called a mews. The falconer's equipment is known as items of furniture. Examples include leather gloves, worn to protect the falconer from the hawk's talons, and hoods, used to cover the eyes of the hawk. (Longwings are trained to take, or wear, a hood from the outset of training because their quarry includes other birds in flight and, if a trained longwing is carried bareheaded, it can see other birds passing overhead at any time and waste energy attempting to leave the fist of the falconer in order to pursue them. Some falconers also prefer to train their shortwings and broadwings to take a hood for the convenience of being able to blindfold the hawk in an environment where it might otherwise be nervous.) Jesses are leather straps of equal length, fastened around the legs of a hawk to enable the falconer to retain it on the gloved fist. These straps allow for control of the hawk before it is fully trained or away from the hunting ground by permitting the falconer to choose when the hawk is to be released—for example, when suitable quarry has been sighted—and when it is to stay on the glove.

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